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Contributed by Jeffrey Bryan

     The 9th Annual Roger’s Wish Project begins on September 30 and runs through October 28 in Elizabethtown. The beloved blanket drive for the needy was founded by the late Roger Grunder of Elizabethtown in 2013. Roger had lived homeless for 19 years and wanted to help others to stay warm during the winter months.  Roger gained assistance with his mission from his friend Curt Vincent of the Bladen Journal. Just three weeks into the project, Roger lost his life in a single car accident in the industrial park section of Elizabethtown. Roger had accepted Jesus into his heart just two days before his fatal accident at a local church. Curt Vincent and the staff decided to continue his mission in Roger’s name each year. Roger’s Wish has collected and distributed more than 1000 donated items from a generous public since its inception. Some of the donations received in past years came from as far away as New York and Florida. Roger’s Wish has garnered coverage in some years from WWAY and WECT news stations as well as Carolina Country Magazine. In its second year Rogers Wish earned the Bladen Journal a second place award for best community newspaper project in a statewide competition.

Roger Grunder believed in helping others around him by reaching out with a servant’s heart. He was a thoughtful and caring individual with a heart of gold. Nine years after Roger left us, his mission continues to shine brightly. Donations of new or gently used blankets and sleeping bags will be accepted at the Bladen County Library and the Bladen Journal office during regular business hours.  The distribution day for Roger’s Wish will be on Friday, November 4, at the Bladen County Library in Elizabethtown. I look forward to seeing you there.

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